Scent of the Moon reviewed

The Difficult Second Album proved not to be so difficult after all. We have got used to getting together every couple of months at best, and we took to Covid lockdown rather well. Lots of emailing bits of music back and forth until we found arrangements we were happy with. Issuing a second CD less than two years after the first may not sound like a massive achievement to you but it does to us.

Released on 3 October 2022, it’s entitled Scent of the Moon. A measly £10 UK, including postage. Just go to the Contact page and send a message. You will hear back from us within 24 hours. You can pay by PayPal, cheque (retro), cash (super-retro) or bank transfer.

Bernard Hanaway’s collage artwork for Scent of the Moon

Feedback from listeners

“I’ve been listening to Scent of the Moon a lot and I’m enjoying it very much. Music and lyrics are all of a piece, and if anything I find it even more compelling than The Lover’s Song.

Love the use of minor chords, and what a voice she has! Might be fanciful but in places I detect sounds of times past, and love it. A genuine pleasure.

“Major themes: time, friendship, nostalgia and regrets.
Keep You Near: typically sinuous harmonies (‘I lose direction…’) and thoughtful words. A good opener.
Move the Air: Clever lyrics and cool Spitfire effects. I love the switch from ‘What did you do in the war, Dad?’ to ‘What did your Dad do in the war?’ I really like this song.
Broadleaf Summer: One of several songs on the album that captures a moment frozen in time, tinged with regret. A pine cone winter fell – what a nice line! Great nightingale – did I detect a French accent?
I Dream of Flight: I like the fairground soundscape. Shades of Mr Kite, in places. Great lyrics.
Time Enough to Tell: This works well. A moment of joy captured. Continues, along with the next track, the theme of friendship on the album.
Friends: I detect a touch of the ‘Sandy Dennys’ in this one, and a bit of a Fairport jam at the end. Thoughtful lyrics about friendship and ageing. One of the strongest songs.”

I’ve listened to the CD a few times now, and it’s not been easy to rank them. But I put it on again last night while cooking dinner, and was drawn in particular to I Dream of Flight. Partly because of the interesting use of birdsong at the start, and partly because in this household dreaming of flight is very much the daily theme! Next in preference is Ashby-de-la Zouch. Love the rhythm and vocals on this one. Lifts the spirits. The warm and laid-back Friends appeals too. A good follow up to the previous track, Time Enough to Tell, since it continues the gentle pace, but lightens the tone.

“My favourite track is I Dream of Flight. But I think the best song is the title track – simple and touching. It succeeds at generalising the particular and particularising the general. And I like the Hank Marvinesque guitar work on the opening track, and also the lead playing towards the end of Friends.”

I think Broadleaf Summer is my favourite.

“Ashby-de-la-Zouch – not complicated, just straightforward and catchy.”

“Broadleaf Summer evokes my favourite time of the year and the song transports me to my youth when days were neverending, there was no past, no future, just now. My home town every summer hosted a very successful international folk festival over three days, where interesting looking people from all over the world would come and camp in their tents in fields along the gently flowing Owenmore river. The festival goers would meet in the magnificent ‘T’ shaped marquee to listen to a multitude of Irish and international musicians, such as The Dubliners, Christy Moore, The Bothy Band, Chuck Berry and Clannad, alongside many other international acts of the 70s.”

“Thank you very much for another great CD! I am glad to see that the band continues on this beautiful romantic pattern!”

“The two CDs are interesting and very nicely put together. Melodic and lyrical.”

Our own review notes

1. Keep You Near

This lively opener sings of exploration, the fear of losing one’s way, and those left behind. Themes to be developed in this Difficult Second Album. Catchier than Covid-19.

2. Our Wild Adventure

Bless my soul. Not a requiem, but an invitation to celebrate something. Copulation, perhaps? An atomic pas-de-deux, mon pied. And who are the lizards? This critic hasn’t a clue.

3. Move the Air

A military fly-past in 2/4, featuring an understated vocal from Flt. Lt. Smith over a massed band of guitars and synths. This could only be OftW. As played on your actual BBC Radio.

4. Broadleaf Summer

Fairport and Pentangle are often name-checked as influences, but it’s not much like either. The Portuguese call it saudade: a sigh for what might have been – even if it couldn’t have been.

5. I Dream of Flight

Luscinia megarhynchos gives way to rhamphorhynchus. We flap, we hold our breath and we’re airborne. Mary Poppins is on a trip, while Bernard dusts off his instrument collection.

6. Ashby-de-la-Zouch

A rasping evocation of the English traffic jam featuring Hanaway on harp and CW on slide. If only S&G had warbled about the A551 rather than the New Jersey Turnpike. All gone to look for Uttoxeter.

7. The Tower

Come on Elaine! Lady Joanna channels Tennyson in this Hymn to Fear and Self-Loathing. All because of lurve. Burnham stars on fretless bass. And that’s Shallot. Grimm.

8. These Same Stars

Kicks off with Planet Earth’s first space shanty and leaves no musical stone unturned. It’s Warp Factor 9 by the end. More guitars than you get at an Eagles gig. Play fortissimo.

9. Time Enough to Tell

And that time is 15/8. Love at first sight: dramatic and strange. Lead vocal and guitar solo by Bernard. Jo tickles the ivories and Chris shakes.

10. Friends

Jo takes on a ballad first recorded during that halcyon summer of 1979. It has since changed key and – surprise, surprise – got longer. Lush sounds culminate in a guitar solo from Bern.

11. Scent of the Moon

But less, even for us, sometimes really can be more. Close your eyes, chill out and sniff up.

Published by oftweditor

Plays the guitar a bit

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